Rovers latest: Saunders’ search for players continues

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DEAN Saunders is stepping up his striker search after missing out on Port Vale predator Marc Richards.

Richards agreed to join Chesterfield last week when his contract expires at the end of June.

Saunders coached Richards at Blackburn Rovers when he was still a trainee and did approach him about a possible switch to the Keepmoat Stadium.

But the former Barnsley striker is just one of several possible transfer targets and Rovers’ boss is thought to be unperturbed at the 29-year-old’s decision to join the Spireites.

Saunders indicated to the Free Press this week that he is now set to switch his attention to strikers operating at a higher level.

He is yet to offer a deal to Altrincham’s Doncaster-based hot shot Damian Francis - although he remains interested in the 26-year-old who scored 44 times in Blue Square North last season.

Last week Rovers revealed on Twitter they had placed two bids for players, including a club captain.

Richards was captain at Port Vale but the Free Press understands that he was not one of the two players that Rovers have made an offer for - and Doncaster are still waiting to hear on the outcome of both bids.

Chris Brown is currently the only recognised striker on Rovers’ books, alongside untested teenager Jordan Ball.

And Saunders is looking to recruit at least two forwards who complement Brown’s height and strength and offer a range of different attributes.

But despite announcing a retained list containing just 13 players, Saunders will not be rushed into making signings and is confident things will fall into place over the next couple of months.

Before adding to his squad, Saunders is still under pressure to reduce the club’s wage bill.

However, the Free Press understands that so far there has been very little interest in Rovers’ contracted players.

n Tomorrow’s Free Press: Latest on Rovers’ plans to revive their reserve team.